Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hitting the Wall

After two months working for an Argentine environmental NGO, I have mixed results. The first few weeks were super exciting: I got to put together a bike-path manifesto, meet the city’s mayor and create a climate change event for

However, my main public diplomacy project sputtered out when it came to soliciting funds from our donor organization. Turns out (just like most PD efforts everywhere), people are reluctant to throw money at something that doesn’t allow for quantifiable evaluation within a short time frame.

Things move a little more slowly down here, especially in regards to the environment. I'll admit that choosing TV as a medium to influence Argentine attitudes about the environment probably wasn't the most cost-effective strategy. But this can still be adopted for radio which I spent the last week researching.

Turns out there is a US-based NGO that does exactly what my project for Fundacion Biosfera was trying to accomplish with Social Marketing and Entertainment-Education. Check out Media Impact as this is the majority of what they do with Radio (and some TV in Latin America) and am already in touch with them.

I'm happy to have worked for awesome boss that I will stay in contact with in order to strengthen Biosfera's PD strategies and some amazing coworkers and friends that I'll no doubt be seeing again before I leave Argentina.


  1. I had a friend that wanted to visit me in China and maybe work for a civil rights group or something like that (she just graduated from law school). I had to explain to her that no such thing exists here. Good to see you're doing positive stuff, even though I usually assume behind most NGOs is some nepotistic relationship with a check signer in the government and a very high salary.


  2. Andy, it's definitely a tough decision to pick out the right NGO to work for and I've found that they're just as diverse as governments and countries themselves. And you're right, each has their own bias based on where they get their funds.

    I think it's safe to say that NGOs can be a powerful force in the field of shaping public diplomacy and international relations and it's no surprise they are subject to the same bureaucratic red tape as corporations or governments.

    PS. good to see some diplomacy from General Tsao got your server back.

  3. i think thers a setting in blogspot that will allow everyone to leave comments. having to sign in with something as nerdy as OpenID or one of the other accounts sucks, plus most strangers wont go through the trouble.